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I've got an office of about 50 people in Manhattan. Pretty simple IT infrastructure: a couple of Windows servers, about 60 PC's running XP or Win7, and some networking hardware to hold it all together.

What I don't have is an IT guy.

Seems like 2/3 of my IT needs are end-user support: set up or move a computer, remove malware, set up user accounts, troubleshoot some failing program, sit on the phone with Dell to convince them that yes, this user's mobo is toast, please come replace it.

The other 1/3 is infrastructure growth: backups, security, network performance, remote user support, AD config, etc.

The challenge is that there's not really enough work to keep anyone busy full time -- but when something does come up, it often requires very quick response.

Has anyone had success with an outsourced IT company? When do you give in and hire a full-time IT guy -- and at what level?

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closed as off-topic by kce, Ward, Dennis Kaarsemaker, Jenny D, TheCleaner Mar 3 at 17:04

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interestly enough I've got the same issues with a startup. In this case they are very mobile as in they are all over the world.. Seriously working a cloud based solution for them with MS BPOS+ azure storage/applcations with fullarmour. Conceptually we are trying to do away with the IT guy that this would normally require. We don't won't to deal with enduser support of the type "hey my laptop died at 3am" conceptually they should be able to go to any working win pc with internet connectivity and get their desktop/applications in a secure fashion. been interesting so far. –  tony roth Oct 19 '10 at 18:01
    
How's your experience with MS BPOS? I'm trying to choose between that and Google Apps. –  Jesse Oct 19 '10 at 18:07
    
good question, does GA have an SLA yet? That was an initial concern that we had. So far BPOS works great for us but there will only be 30-60 people so I wouldn't expect much of an issue. Also we are just staring so thing may become more apparent in a month or so! –  tony roth Oct 19 '10 at 18:17
    
also check this out. –  tony roth Oct 19 '10 at 19:15
    
office365.microsoft.com/en-US/office365-beta.aspx its still new but sounds more complete then my version of the same! –  tony roth Oct 19 '10 at 19:15

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

You're looking for a Managed Service Provider. Or a local trustworthy consultant. Either of these, worth their salt, will do a good job for you.

When do you move up to a full-time IT guy? When you can afford one and it's worth it, so it's very subjective. Many small companies will hire someone a little more junior (and cheaper) and keep the MSP/consultant on-board as well; that can often be cheaper than finding and hiring a more experienced guy (who honestly might get bored at a small place.)

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There is more to your network than just putting out fires. You maybe could already use at least one fulltime IT person. A competent IT person would stay busy with a network of 60 PC's and a couple of servers. Once he/she has familiarized him/herself with your network, suggestions could be made, improvements could be performed. There would always be something to stay productive with.

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+1 I avoid putting out fires by preventing them in the first place. This is where the bulk of my time goes: into ensuring everyone else stays productive and fire-free. –  Chris S Dec 3 '10 at 20:26

My former employer was acquired by a firm that does desktop managed services like what you're looking for -- MindSHIFT Technologies. I can tell you they used to be pretty good back when I worked there, but can tend toward the expensive side, particularly if they're doing the Dell "Listen JACKASS this machine needs to be replaced NOW!"-type phone calls for you (these can get time consuming, and time is money in the hourly-rate sense).

Like mfinni said, a lot of companies hire someone relatively junior to handle the local grunt work (moving machines around, dealing with desktop/laptop RMAs) & rely on the MSP for heavy lifting (infrastructure, software deployment, AV/Patching, etc.).

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